Review: Vauxhall Astra GTC (2011 – 2016)

Rating:

Stable and enjoyable handling. Good level of standard equipment. Distinctive styling.

Visibility poor especially to rear. Interior not dramatically different from the hatchback.

Recently Added To This Review

20 May 2018

Report of minor gearbox gasket oil leak on 2015 Vauxhall Astra 1.4Turbo GTC at just 4,800 miles. Car had been independently serviced and Vauxhall refused a warrantry repair. Read more

26 November 2015

2012/62 Vauxhall Astra GTC, bought used in 2015, found to be fitted with left-dipping headlights at first MoT. Selling dealer offered to replace lights with right dippers from Euro CaR Parts. Read more

11 July 2014

Parking brake of 5,000 mile 2013 Astra GTC failed on a hill, car rolled back and suffered £6,000 of damage. See: 1-9-2012. Read more

Vauxhall Astra GTC (2011 – 2016): At A Glance

Don't be fooled by the name of this Vauxhall Astra. While GTC may sound similiar to GTE - the badge that was given to high performance versions of the Vauxhall Astra in the past - this is essentially the replacement for the Astra Sport Hatch - the three door version of the Astra. However, Vauxhall has injected some zest into the GTC, turning much more of a coupe.

While it’s still unmistakably an Astra, the GTC has a more exciting appearance and looks impressive in the metal. In fact, the exterior of the car shares only two components with the five-door model – the aerial and the door handles. The sloping roofline, exaggerated shoulder line, daytime running lights and boot lid spoiler all make for a purposefully styled vehicle, as do the large 18-inch wheels, which come as standard.

The cabin is less exotic than the exterior though, looking more or less identical to that of the standard Astra, albeit with a few neat touches here and there. It’s an enjoyable car to drive and feels extremely planted to the road. Thanks to sophisticated front suspension the GTC feels neutral through bends and is composed and reassuring.

There are six engines available – three petrol and three diesel – with power outputs ranging from 120PS in the entry level 1.4-litre petrol to 180PS in the range topping 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol. The 2.0-litre CDTi is the best of the bunch, with plenty of torque and good fuel economy of 58.9mpg. And a VXR version is on the way in 2012, with a turbocharged engine and the usual VXR aggressive styling.

Vauxhall Astra VXR 2012 Road Test

What does a Vauxhall Astra GTC (2011 – 2016) cost?

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Vauxhall Astra GTC (2011 – 2016): What's It Like Inside?

Dimensions
Length 4466 mm
Width 1840–2020 mm
Height 1482 mm
Wheelbase 2695 mm

Full specifications

The Astra GTC may be completely different to the five door on the outside but on the inside it’s very similar, which is both a blessing and a curse. Everything is finished nicely and all the components feel solidly screwed together, but the materials aren’t up to the level of those on the Volkswagen Scirocco, one of the GTCs rivals, and there's little flair when you consider the dramatic exterior styling.

However, it is possible to seriously liven the cabin up with optional Morello Red leather while pressing the Sport button (if you go for the optional FlexRide adaptive suspension) makes red lights come on under the gear lever, in the doors and behind the dials. It's a neat touch and looks very good.

However, visibility is hampered by the smooth exterior lines. The A-pillars are sloped, long and thick so make it difficult to see out of junctions, while the tiny back windows make rear visibility fairly poor. On the other hand, the mirrors provide a clear view behind. 

The instrument dials are easy to read and attractiveley styled and the TFT infotainment screen is clear and crisp. The centre console features a myriad of buttons, all of which are clearly labelled, but learning to navigate around them intuitively without looking takes some time. Some feel a little scattered - like the three different buttons for FlexRide adaptive suspension, which are in three different places rather than on one switch.

On the plus side, there’s plenty of space in the cabin, particularly in the front. Even for rear seat passengers there is a decent amount of leg and headroom, but access is a little difficult, as with all three-door cars. Boot space is decent at 350 litres, and the seats can be folded to increase that to 1165 litres. The seats are comfortable and supportive in all models, but the SRi trim offers improved lateral support, useful through corners.

Standard equipment from launch (October 2011):

Sport models (from £18,495):

  • Electronic Stability Programme (ESP)
  • Six airbags
  • Active-safety front seat head restraints
  • 18-inch seven-spoke alloy wheels
  • Air conditioning
  • CD 400 CD/MP3 CD player with stereo radio
  • Daytime Running Lights
  • Digital Audio Broadcast stereo receiver
  • USB connection with iPod control
  • Auxiliary-in socket
  • Electrically operated front windows
  • Cruise control
  • Remote control central deadlocking
  • Steering column adjustable for reach/rake
  • Steering wheel mounted audio controls
  • Front seat height adjusters
  • Remote control alarm system (optional on Sport 1.4 16v VVT Turbo (120PS) model. Standard on all other models).

SRi models:  (from £19,945)

  • Electronic Stability Programme (ESP)
  • Six airbags
  • Active-safety front seat head restraints
  • 18-inch seven-spoke alloy wheels
  • Air conditioning
  • CD 400 CD/MP3 CD player with stereo radio
  • Daytime Running Lights
  • Digital Audio Broadcast stereo receiver
  • USB connection with iPod control
  • Auxiliary-in socket
  • Electrically operated front windows
  • Cruise control
  • Remote control central deadlocking
  • Steering column adjustable for reach/rake
  • Steering wheel mounted audio controls
  • Front seat height adjusters
  • Remote control alarm system
  • Sports front seats
  • Rain-sensitive windscreen wipers
  • Automatic lighting control
  • Front fog lights
  • Multi-function trip computer
  • Electric parking brake
  • Hill start assist
  • Front centre armrest with storage facility
  • Dual-tone horn
  • Three-spoke leather-covered steering wheel
  • Front door sill cover
  • Dark-tinted rear windows.

Child seats that fit a Vauxhall Astra GTC (2011 – 2016)

Our unique Car Seat Chooser shows you which child car seats will fit this car and which seat positions that they will fit, so that you don't have to check every car seat manufacturer's website for compatibility.

Which car seat will suit you?

What's the Vauxhall Astra GTC (2011 – 2016) like to drive?

The Astra GTC has been developed specifically for UK roads and it really shows. It manages to zip around corners far more quickly than most owners will ever need it to while remaining flat and stable. Despite that fact it is reasonably comfortable over bumps and potholes. The 18-inch alloys that come as standard (20-inch wheels are available as an option) have a reasonable profile tyre, which goes some way towards providing a good degree of ride comfort.

The front suspension is based on the same set-up used in the Insignia VXR, and helps to improve grip in tight bends, even with the heavy diesel engine. The rear suspension is the same as in the five-door model but has been overhauled to suit the sportier characteristics of the GTC. The power steering is electric and offers a decent amount of feedback and weight, but it feels less direct than a Renault Megane Coupe, one of the Astra GTC’s key rivals.

The entry level engine is a 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol with 120PS, which is perfectly reasonable for most peoples needs, but for more enthusiastic drivers it might feel a little underpowered. The mid level version of the same engine produces 140PS and has a quicker 0-62mph sprint time. Both 1.4-litre units have a claimed average economy of 47.1mpg and CO2 emissions of 140g/km.

The range topping 1.6-litre petrol is an enjoyable package, with a purposeful engine note, plenty of power and a wide torque band. Accelerating from 0-62mph takes 7.8 seconds while the official average economy figure is 32.9mpg with emissions of 168g/km.

Most buyers will go for a diesel, though and three are offered – two 1.7-litre units with either 110PS or 130PS, both of which offer low emissions of 119g/km and economy of 62.8mpg, plus a 2.0-litre with 165PS and an impressive 350Nm of torque. This is the pick of the range, but also the most expensive. It offers the best balance of performance and emissions - 0-62mph takes 8.4 seconds and it accelerates strongly in gear, yet average economy is 58.9mpg with CO2 emissions of 127g/km.

All models come with a slick six-speed manual gearbox with a tall top gear to keep the noise and fuel consumption down on the motorway. A six-speed automatic is available with the 140PS 1.4-litre petrol and the 2.0-litre diesel. 

FlexRide adaptive suspension is available as an option and lets drivers tune the suspension set up, with different settings - Tour, Standard and Sport - which give varying degrees of stiffness and steering weight. It improves ride quality on rough, potholed British roads, but is expensive at £790. The sport setting also sharpens the throttle response and it makes the car feel livelier.

Engine MPG 0-62 CO2
1.4 47 mpg 10.2 s 142 g/km
1.4 140 47 mpg 9.0 s 142 g/km
1.4 Turbo 43 mpg 9.9 s 154 g/km
1.4T 120 46 mpg 10.9 s 139 g/km
1.4T 140 46 mpg 9.9 s 139 g/km
1.4T 140 Automatic 43 mpg 9.9 s 154 g/km
1.6 39 mpg - 168 g/km
1.6 CDTi 110 67 mpg - 104 g/km
1.6 CDTi 110 ecoFLEX 67 mpg 11.6 s 111 g/km
1.6 CDTi 136 66 mpg - 109 g/km
1.6 CDTi 136 ecoFLEX 66 mpg 9.5 s 115 g/km
1.6 Turbo 39 mpg - 168 g/km
1.6 Turbo 200 45 mpg 7.3 s 149 g/km
1.6T 200 42 mpg 8.3 s 154 g/km
1.7 CDTi 110 66 mpg 11.0 s 114 g/km
1.7 CDTi 110 ecoFLEX 69 mpg 11.3 s 109 g/km
1.7 CDTi 130 66 mpg 10.0 s 114 g/km
1.7 CDTi 130 ecoFLEX 69 mpg 10.1 s 109 g/km
2.0 CDTi 60 mpg 8.4 s 124–125 g/km
2.0 CDTi 165 58–59 mpg 8.9 s 127 g/km
2.0 CDTi 165 Automatic 50 mpg 8.9 s 149 g/km
2.0 CDTi Automatic 50 mpg 8.6 s 149–150 g/km
2.0 CDTi BiTurbo 58 mpg 7.7 s 129 g/km
2.0 Turbo 280 VXR 36 mpg 6.2 s 184 g/km

Real MPG average for a Vauxhall Astra GTC (2011 – 2016)

Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their cars could not match the official figures.

Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.

Average performance

75%

Real MPG

20–70 mpg

MPGs submitted

443

Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.

What have we been asked about the Vauxhall Astra GTC (2011 – 2016)?

Every day we're asked hundreds of questions from car buyers and owners through Ask Honest John. Our team of experts, including the nation's favourite motoring agony uncle - Honest John himself - answer queries and conudrums ranging from what car to buy to how to care for it as an owner. If you could do with a spot of friendly advice before buying you're next car, get in touch and we'll do what we can to help.

Ask HJ

Which is the better used buy - Golf, Astra GTC or Focus?

I'm looking at buying a used car. I am trying to upgrade my 10 year old SEAT Ibiza - so looking for something stylish and quick/fun to drive - but also reliable and fairly economical as I do a fair amount of motorway driving. Ideally, I would like something from 2012 on with a budget up to £8500. I am considering the Vauxhall Astra GTC 2.0 CDTi or 1.4i Turbo. I also like the Volkswagen Golf 1.4 TSi and a Ford Focus 1.6 EcoBoost or 2.0 TDCi. I have also thought about an Audi A3 and SEAT Leon. What would you recommend?
The Astra GTC is a great looking car, but better with the 1.4T than the growly old diesel. Golf Mk VIs are the most complained of cars in the UK, riddled with faults. A3s and Leons share their parts. Focus are better, but not much. See http://www.honestjohn.co.uk/carbycar
Answered by Honest John
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